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Project Presentation - "The Painting of a disabled man"

Petra Flieger, Institute of Educational Science - University of Innsbruck, Austria
Co-author(s): Volker Schönwiese

Full paper (word doc)

Full paper (pdf)


We'd like to present an interdisciplinary as well as participatory research project on the cultural representation of disability. Project partners were the University of Innsbruck, the Museum of Art History Vienna and Independent Living Innsbruck. As the starting point was a painting of a disabled man from the 16th century, the project dealt with historical questions regarding this unique painting as well as two other historical depictions of people with disabilities: a small portrait of a woman with a learning disability from the 16th century and a leaflet about a carpenter with a disability from the early 17th century. Apart from gathering historical material, the critical analysis of the cultural representation of people with disabilities in history and today as well as the analysis of gazes towards people with disabilities were central. The whole research process was designed participatory: a reference group of men and women with disabilities was actively involved in all stages of the project.

An exhibition, two books and a documentary film were produced to broadly communicate the manifold results to a general as well as a scientific audience. The documentary film was broadcasted on the German-Austrian-Swiss-Channel 3 Sat in January 2008.

At the conference we'd like to show this documentary film. It gives an excellent overview of the complex research project, its process and results and is a good starting point for further discussion. The 30 minutes video will be both subtitled and audio described in English.

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